Vote in state-wide election on April 2 Print
Editorial
Thursday, Mar. 28, 2019 -- 12:00 AM
faithful citizenship


On April 2, there is a state-wide election in Wisconsin. Offices on the ballot are justice of the state Supreme Court, Court of Appeals judge (Districts 2, 3, and 4), and Circuit Court judge in several counties. There are also candidates for local offices.

State Supreme Court election

Perhaps one of the most important elections is one new justice for the state Supreme Court. This court is the highest appellate court in Wisconsin.

The court has seven justices, who are selected in nonpartisan elections for 10-year terms. The court has jurisdiction over all other Wisconsin courts and can also hear original actions.

With Supreme Court justices serving such a long term, voters should be vigilant to study where the candidates stand on the issues they value.

Responsibility to vote

As Catholics we have both a right and a responsibility to vote.

Even Pope Francis has encouraged people to be involved. “We need to participate for the common good. Sometimes we hear: a good Catholic is not interested in politics. This is not true: good Catholics immerse themselves in politics by offering the best of themselves so that the leader can govern,” the Holy Father said.

In the Catholic tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. “People in every nation enhance the social dimension of their lives by acting as committed and responsible citizens” (Evangelii Gaudium, no. 220).

The U.S. Catholic bishops in their document on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, say, “The obligation to participate in political life is rooted in our baptismal commitment to follow Jesus Christ and to bear Christian witness in all we do.

A well-formed conscience

The bishops emphasize that the Church equips its members to address political and social questions by helping them to develop a well-formed conscience.

“Catholics have a serious and lifelong obligation to form their consciences in accord with human reason and the teaching of the Church. Conscience is not something that allows us to justify doing whatever we want, nor is it a mere ‘feeling’ about what we should or should not do,” say the bishops.

“Rather, conscience is the voice of God resounding in the human heart, revealing the truth to us and calling us to do what is good while shunning what is evil. Conscience always requires serious attempts to make sound moral judgments based on the truths of our faith.”

Considering the seven themes of Catholic social teaching may be one way to help make voting decisions. These themes include: life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community, and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; dignity of work and rights of workers; solidarity with the human family; and care for God’s creation.

Get out and vote!

It is important for people to vote in elections not only because it is a basic right, but also because doing so increases the chance of electing someone who will represent their views, according to www.reference.com

In the 2016 elections, nearly 43 percent of eligible voters did not exercise their right to vote, according to the Washington Post. Of the 232 million eligible voters, only 132 million voters cast a ballot in the 2016 elections.

I always take time to vote in every election and enjoy wearing my “I voted” sticker. I encourage all citizens to take their right to vote seriously. Study the candidates, form your conscience, and get out and vote on April 2!